About Us

The Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (PMAHCC) is the principal regional advocate for the Hispanic business community’s civic and economic interests. It is our mission to develop, promote and advocate on behalf of Hispanic businesses & professionals in the Pittsburgh region, while encouraging the advancement and economic growth of Pittsburgh’s Hispanic community.

The PMAHCC is a member
of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC).

The PMAHCC Board of Directors represents a diverse tapestry of well respected, successful business and community leaders who  execute a practical approach to the needs of the business community.  

Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce activities include:
  • Networking opportunities with Pittsburgh’s Latino business & professional community
  • Access to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other national Latino organizations
  • Assistance with public contracting opportunities
  • Brokering discussions with Pittsburgh corporations and elected officials
  • Educating and advising Hispanic business owners and professionals
  • Updating demographic statistics and other Hispanic community and business information 
  • Member access to Micro Loans and Business Discounts

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Melanie Marie Boyer 

Executive Director, PMAHCC

Melanie Marie Boyer serves as the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Foundation. A CALU and Duquesne University alumna, she is a Colombian & United States Citizen. Melanie is a devoted mom to two handsome young boys, ages 12 and 6. Mrs. Boyer is passionate about helping businesses to reach their full potential and getting funding into the underserved American entrepreneurial ecosystem. Her goal is to enable rapid success, defined as self-sustaining job and revenue-generating businesses that can improve underestimated communities and the region at large.

An entrepreneur at heart, she is a business owner, previously working in freelance marketing, production, recruiting, speech coaching and brand management, among other things. Melanie Marie was awarded the 2023 40 under 40 from PUMP and Pittsburgh Magazine, Top 20 Chamber Executives by Glue Up, 2022 Latino Power 100 by the Latino Convention, 2022 Pittsburgh Magazine- Top Women in Business Award, 2022 Women of Influence Award from the Pittsburgh Business times, 5 Powerful Latinas in Pittsburgh by the New Pittsburgh Courier, 100 influential leaders to know in Pittsburgh tech by Technical.ly, the 2021 NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, 2021 Distinguished Leader award by Pittsburgh Professional Women, and a 2021 Black History Achievement Award from The Pastors Wives of the Churches of God in Christ’s Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Pennsylvania for her work in the Hispanic community.

Under her leadership the Hispanic Chamber has been recognized by the 2023 Hispanic Chamber of the year from the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Outstanding Community Organization by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2023,  2019 Emerging Chamber of the year from Wells Fargo and the USHCC and the 2019 Chamber of the year from the Pittsburgh Business Show.

She further serves the community through being a participating member of the S&T Bank advisory board, RAD advisory Board, Bethany Board, ALPFA Pittsburgh board (Association of Latino Professionals for America), WPXI Gets Real Advisory Board, Port Authority Stakeholder Advisory Group, WYEP Community Council, Neighborhood Allies Asset Building Network, CCAC Community Equity and Diversity Council, the UPMC Community Health Partnership and others.

In all aspects of her life, Melanie Marie strives every day to be the catalyst of forward movement and positive growth, seeking progress, prosperity and positivity through partnership.

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Board of Directors

Chairman of the Board

Carmen Malloy

 Manager, Community Assistance Programs, 
Peoples Natural Gas

Carmen Omaira Malloy has worked at Peoples for the last 30 years. Here, her primary responsibilities include: assuring the company’s compliance with mandated programs, responding to inquiries requested by the regulatory body and she is committed to the Peoples mission of "making life better" in our community and advocating for those who are less fortunate. Carmen joined the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (PMAHCC) in 1999 and in 2013 she was elected President of the executive board. Malloy supports the PMAHCC mission of contributing to making Pittsburgh the city of opportunity and growth for our future generations by managing the Chamber’s Foundation Scholarship program. This program has provided more than 120 students with scholarships totaling more than $300,000 since the initiative began in 2011.
Carmen, an advocate for volunteering with a history at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh and the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Community Advisory Committee. Ms. Malloy is a member of Saint Richards, Guatemala Mission group whose focus is to support an orphanage in Patzún, Guatemala. Carmen has visited the orphanage as a volunteer, translator and group coordinator with Saint Richard Parish as well as Oakland Catholic School. Has been the president of the Beaver County Human Services Forum since 2021.

In 2017 Carmen was honored for her commitment to the community by the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League (NFL), as the recipient of the "NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award" as well as the Pittsburgh Magazine, "Spirit of Giving Award". In 2016 she was recognized by the Talk Minority Action Group who presented her with the "Minority Achiever’s Award" as featured in Talk Magazine.

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Ivan Usero  MS, CRIS 

Senior Advisor - Property & Casualty - International Man of Surety

A native of Miramar, Santurce, Puerto Rico Ivan Usero is a graduate of Duquesne University (Undergrad) and Robert Morris University (Masters) respectively. Having lived in Illinois as a child, while his father was obtaining his PHD in Geotechnical Engineering, Ivan is no stranger to being an outsider in a different land. It is for this reason that Ivan feels compelled to serve and go above and beyond. Professionally, Ivan works as a Senior Advisor, leading the commercial Property & Casualty team at NFP (Pittsburgh). In this role, Ivan acts as an outsourced risk manager for his clients, helping middle to upper middle market organizations in risk management and program design, assisting to find bottom-line impactful solutions. As a former basketball player, Ivan’s competitive drive shines through in everything he does. Having served on the board of the Pittsburgh Metro Area Hispanic Chamber (PMAHCC) for the past 9+ years, Ivan is extremely passionate about community involvement, the organization, and its mission. Ivan serves as the Western PA Ambassador for the National Puerto Rican Chamber, leveraging both local relationships and direct ties to the island. He also serves on the PA state committee for the United States Global Leadership Coalition, and most recently joined the Board of Governors at the Rivers Club of Downtown Pittsburgh.To quote the legendary Roberto Clemente, Ivan firmly believes these words:

“If you have a chance to help others and you do not, then you are wasting your time on Earth”

-Roberto Clemente Walker

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Joe Eliza 
Owner and CTO, CE Leadership Group

Joe Eliza is a Mexican American who attended the MTY Institute of Tech, State of Mex University and CO Tech University. Joe earned his Masters Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering and is the Founder and CTO of the CE Leadership Group which provides trainings that enrich the development of the right attitudes and work habits that will make people the driving forces that is needed to meet the goals in operations and initiatives. Notably, they provide training to federal employees in the SW PA region.

The CE Leadership Group provides trainings that enrich the development of the right attitudes and work habits that will make people the driving forces that is needed to meet the goals in operations and initiatives.

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Membership Chair

Andrea Vasquez 
VP, Group Banking Manager, Dollar Bank

Andrea Vasquez is a Pittsburgh native who is excited to witness and partake in the astounding changes throughout this revitalized city. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a Bachelors of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Minors in Business Administration and Journalism. She was a Board of Governor’s full Scholarship Recipient, which was awarded based on academic performance and a minority background. She is a fourth-generation Mexican and Polish mix. She is currently a resident in the city of Pittsburgh.

Andrea obtained an eight-year career in the fashion industry, gaining corporate experience with H&M, Macys and JCPennys. Her most recent position in this field was Merchandise Execution Manager, in which she oversaw storewide operations at the regional headquarters. Following this endeavor, she switched her career to finance. During her first three years in this industry she was Branch Manager for the mutual and historic Dollar Bank. She learned presentation skills among others, and became Group Banking Officer over the next five years. She was promoted to Vice President, Group Banking Manager, and covers Pittsburgh and Cleveland markets.

Andrea is a Board Member and Membership Chair for the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (PMAHCC.org). She is active in many chambers throughout the city, such as the North Chamber, Airport Chamber, Southpointe Chamber, and attends events on behalf of the bank to increase overall business development in various regions. For the last five years, she has served as a Commissioner on the Equal Opportunity Review Committee on behalf of the Mayor’s office. This committee reviews city bids which are presented in order to ensure compliance with Minority, Women and Disabled businesses throughout Pittsburgh.

Andrea serves as a leader for the Next Generation Council through Vibrant Pittsburgh, and is focusing her efforts on collaborating organizations dedicated to retaining diverse talent in the city.

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Events Chair

Monica Malik
Vice President Public Affairs Market Manager Western Pennsylvania, Citizens Bank 

Monica Malik was born into the business world. By the time she was a teenager, she was a key component to the success of the seven McDonald’s restaurants owned by her father. She was fully immersed in all aspects of the family run business and gained skills that would serve her well as she carved out her career and life’s work.

This diversity of experience and knowledge led Monica to be intrigued by and to pursue work in many different arenas. She was the Director of Operations for McDonald’s, where she managed over 500 employees at a time and she moved on to become a franchisee for the Checker’s/Rally’s Corporation by the time she was in her early 30’s. In addition to being an entrepreneur, she is also the events committee lead for the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, on the Low Income Assistance Advisory Committee for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, board member at Radiant Hall, on the Culinary Arts Advisory Board at the Bidwell Training Center, a Grow With Google Coach, the Executive Director for #ATU Athletic Trauma Unit, as well as a business operations and non-profit consultant.

Monica is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a dual minor in Information Sciences and Spanish. She specializes in community outreach programs, team building, conflict resolution, leadership training, talent management and business consulting. She has been a member of the East Liberty Chamber of Commerce and has represented a previous employer at NorthSide Chamber of Commerce events.

Monica’s current position with the Allegheny Health Network, as a Program Manager of Community Health and Innovations, is the perfect union of her professional experience and her deep interest and commitment to the community.

Whether it is through helping someone with business consulting or assisting someone in securing a meal, Monica is always connecting with and assisting those around her.

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Linda Jo Thornberg 
Vice President of Corporate Communications and PR, Higher Images

Linda Jo Thornberg is the founder and creator of the Women Who Embrace Life Conference and President of the Pittsburgh Business Show but her passion lies in Brand Awareness, PR and Social Media for Business Development. She is the Vice President of Corporate Communication and PR at Higher Images, a 20 year old Full Service Digital Marketing Advertising Agency in Pittsburgh, PA She works with businesses of all sizes including, small, medium and multi-location businesses. She specializes in brand awareness, local PR and social media integration, as well as online reputation, online review and testimonial generation.

Someone once asked her for her elevator pitch and she replied "Hmm. my elevator pitch...interesting... I think it goes deeper for me... It is passion. I have the honor of helping businesses build and promote their image and reputation... I love working with a business finding out what their goals are and working together as a team. There are so many options out there from blogging and digital PR, search engine optimization, and mobile marketing APPS. My job is to educate the business owner. It is a whole new world of how buyers buy and what influences them. It is all about how a company makes them feel even more now than ever."

Her experience in her professional life and her education has given her the tools to be able to see companies not only from a business perspective, but as the consumer as well. She believes in treating every client as if she is their partner. She commented "There are no two businesses that are alike; of course they all have similarities." She feels her success has been in researching and listening to her clients business history, identifying the business strengths and weaknesses, researching competitors and demographics and listening to the goals and the future plans for her clients. Then working with businesses in laying out a customized marketing plan to reach business owners strategic goals.

Over 20 years of experience within various industries including event creation, event marketing, recruiting, sales training, retail, restaurant/hospitality, training and customer service. Exceptional at managing multiple projects from conception to completion.

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Legal Representation

Lourdes Sanchez Ridge   
Partner, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP

LOURDES SÁNCHEZ RIDGE is a Partner at Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP. She practices in the areas of government enforcement, corporate compliance and internal investigations, government related civil litigation, and the False Claims Act. She counsels and investigates corporations and individuals on matters of domestic and international concerns such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), health care fraud, bribery and corruption, securities fraud, ethics and fraudulent conveyances. She also practices in the areas of municipal law including land use, civil rights, employment law, zoning, code enforcement, First Amendment matters, permits and licenses, building code violations, and the Torts Claims Act.

She has substantial trial experience in both state and federal court where she has tried numerous bench and jury trials in a multitude of jurisdictions. She has also represented a myriad of clients before state and federal grand juries.

Prior to joining Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP, Ms. Sánchez Ridge was the Chief Legal Counsel/City Solicitor for the City of Pittsburgh where she was responsible for all legal matters concerning the City of Pittsburgh while supervising the law department. She has substantial experience in representing elected and appointed officials in high profile matters and has experience in handling the media.

Ms. Sánchez Ridge served as a Federal prosecutor in Washington, DC where she handled a myriad of cases including financial crimes, narcotic rings, violent crimes and homicides. As an Assistant United States Attorney, she conducted numerous grand jury investigations, argued motions, conducted bench and jury trials and sentencings. In the mid-1980s, Ms. Sánchez Ridge served as a prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, Florida also handling violent crimes and narcotic prosecutions.

Ms. Sánchez Ridge has spoken on a variety of topics before varied audiences. She has spoken on internal investigations, the FCPA, the False Claims Act, financial fraud and constitutional issues before local, national and international audiences. Ms. Sánchez Ridge has also served as a Subject Matter expert and lecturer at Carlow University’s Fraud and Forensic Master’s Degree Program.

Ms. Sánchez Ridge is also deeply involved in the community. She serves as a Governor for the Allegheny County Bar Association, as well as a Board Member of the Board of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. She served as the Chair of FamilyLinks, a social service non-profit organization, the Chair of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where she was the Founder of the Hispanic Scholarship Program; she was a Trustee at Carlow University; a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs; and, a Director at the Allegheny County Community College Foundation and Global Pittsburgh. Ms. Sánchez Ridge has also earned several awards: the Carol Las Mansmann Helping Hand Award, National Football League (NFL) Hispanic Leadership Award and the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Hispanic Bar Committee El Sol Award.

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Dr. Anthony Kane Jr.  
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Dean of Students, Saint Vincent College

Dr. Anthony Kane Jr. is an experienced Student Affairs professional with critical expertise in belonging, social/emotional counseling, and student development. Currently, Anthony serves as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Saint Vincent College. In this role, Anthony provides supervision and support to various departments focused on student leadership, development, and programming.

Prior to joining Saint Vincent, Anthony worked at Duquesne University for nine years where he began his career in Residence Life serving as Assistant Director, Resident Director, and Assistant Resident Director. More recently, Anthony served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for two academic years. During this time, Anthony played a significant role in enhancing the support and resources available for diverse student populations at Duquesne. Additionally, Anthony has led and developed several strategic initiatives geared toward enriching the students' experience and promoting a positive sense of belonging on campus. Active within the Duquesne campus community, Anthony served on the University's Freshmen Retention Committee, Title IX Advisory Committee, the President's Advisor Council for Diversity and Inclusion, and as a Deputy Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Coordinator.

Anthony earned both his Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees from California University of Pennsylvania and an earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Duquesne University.

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Edgar Largaespada (he/him/his)  
Director of Industry Strategy, Partner4Work 

Edgar Largaespada is the Director of Industry Strategy at Partner4Work, the $25 million workforce development organization for the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. As such, Edgar leads a team of developers empowered to engage businesses and other entities to develop and deploy strategic solutions to solve common challenges in talent pipeline development, recruitment, and retention.

Prior to this work, Edgar led Partner4Work's efforts to understand the supply side, studying job seekers and workers looking to begin or advance in a career with a specific focus on job quality, equity, and inclusion. This research has been the topic of several speaking engagements and featured in both regional and national press publications. 

Edgar holds a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and a bachelor's from Ave Maria University Latin American Campus in Nicaragua. Edgar, his wife Krista, and their three children live in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

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Juan Paz-Rosario, Esq.  
Associate Attorney, Burns White

Juan was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. His parents are originally from Puerto Rico.

In college, Juan earned his Bachelor of Science from George Mason University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution with a double minor in Criminology and Legal Studies.

Prior to his admission as an attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Juan was the President of the Hispanic American Bar Association (HABA) at Duquesne University School of Law. As President of HABA, he traveled throughout the country to represent and speak on behalf of Duquesne Law at multiple Law School Admission Council events. He also organized a meeting between HABA members and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Juan earned his Juris Doctorate from Duquesne University School of Law with a concentration in Corporate Governance and Transactions.

Juan has experience negotiating settlements and has successfully represented clients in family, criminal, and civil matters.  He has an extensive courtroom background working with judges in both the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, where he assisted in legal research and writing for numerous cases and their subsequent opinions.  

Juan is the Co-Chairman of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Hispanic Attorneys Committee, an Arbitrator on the Allegheny County's Civil Division Arbitration Panel and a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

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Nayli Russo-Long, PHD.  
Vice President - People & Strategy, Pittsburgh Pirates

Dr. Nayli Russo-Long is an accomplished and highly regarded business executive, strategist, and leadership coach who is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations achieve their full potential. With a proven track record of success, she currently serves as the Vice President of People and Strategy for the Pittsburgh Pirates and is the Owner of Inner Power, LLC and ameriCARE Pittsburgh.

Dr. Russo-Long's expertise lies in improving organizational performance by creating a people-centered culture that supports individual growth, engagement, and well-being. She believes that organizations that care for their people not only perform better but also attract and retain top talent. With extensive experience in various industries, she has climbed the ranks to become a successful management executive, gaining a unique perspective on what it takes to create people-centered organizations that thrive in today's competitive business landscape.

As a certified leadership coach and public speaker, Dr. Russo-Long is passionate about empowering individuals and organizations to unlock their full potential. Her Breakthrough Academy coaching program is specifically designed to empower women to achieve their goals with clarity, courage, confidence, and commitment. She has also developed the Pittsburgh Pirate's highly successful leadership academy, which has empowered and developed team members.

Dr. Russo-Long is a highly qualified and accomplished professional, holding a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, a Master's degree in Business Administration, and multiple certifications, including Strategy Execution, Lean Six Sigma, Public Speaking, and Leadership. She is a passionate advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, firmly believing that embracing diversity at all levels is essential for both companies and nations to thrive and flourish.

As an immigrant from Venezuela who moved to the United States in 2007, Dr. Russo-Long understands the value of hard work and perseverance in overcoming challenges and achieving success. Combining her passion for baseball and her high-performance framework, she is dedicated to unlocking individual and group performance, and achieving desired outcomes for her clients.

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Carrie Ann Zayas  
Vice President - Manager of External Partnerships, PNC Enterprise Innovation

Carrie Ann Zayas is vice president, responsible for supervising, shepherding and growing the portfolio of activities between PNC’s Enterprise Innovation team and external partners, including major research universities, external intelligence sources and key technology partners.

As manager of the retail change governance team, Zayas monitored adherence to the change governance policy and collection of artifacts and supporting governance evidence. As secretary of the retail risk committee, Zayas managed and administrated the forum to ensure broad discussion and assessment of the retail bank risk profile, key risk reporting metrics, review of initiatives and ensures alignment with PNC's enterprise risk management goals and policies.

Zayas joined PNC in October 1997 as a financial services consultant and was promoted to lead financial services consultant II. In 2002, Zayas led the development of a Spanish-language toll free telephone line as part of PNC’s Customer Service Call Center, providing Spanish language customer service for Hispanic customers. Under Zayas' leadership, 1-866-HOLA-PNC grew from two Spanish-speaking customer service representatives to 38 bilingual representatives. In 2004, Zayas was named the first Hispanic segment manager, and in 2005 was promoted to vice president. For over 12 years, Zayas was responsible for reaching diverse customers through existing PNC products and programs as well as creating new culturally and language appropriate strategies for Spanish-speaking customers and other multicultural segments.

Zayas is active in the Hispanic community, having served on the board of The Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (PMAHCC) and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) as a member of the Senior Executive Corporate Advisory Board (SECAB). She served as president of the board of La Escuelita Arcoiris, a Spanish immersion preschool in Pittsburgh, and was a member of ALPFA and the Welcoming Pittsburgh advisory council.

She served as the commissioner for Allegheny County for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (2008-2010). Zayas now leads a cohort of PNC HACR Alumni to create a path of increased visibility by preparing high potential Latinos for positions of influence and participates in the community as an FBI Citizens Academy alumni. She is a member of the Hispanic/Latino Leadership forum called PNC Unidos and the President of the Pittsburgh Latino EBRG.

Zayas earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Hispanic languages and cultures. She also has a certificate in Latin American studies. In 2004, she earned her professional translation certificate in Spanish/English. Zayas also studied at the Universidad de las Américas in Puebla, México.

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PMAHCC Foundation Board

Kenia Acioly  
Mooka Entertainment

The artist was born Kenia Acioly into a family of Italian origins in the city of Nova Iguaçu, a distant working class suburb of Rio de Janeiro. When she was six, Kenia’s family moved to Copacabana. Later, she lived in Niterói, Rio’s sister city across Guanabara Bay, and Leblon, one of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods. Each stop along the way provided opportunities to explore the local cultural peculiarities that go into making Rio and its neighboring environs one of the world’s most exotic locales.

An interest in music came early; she studied piano and learned to play the guitar by ear. Singing however, became her path to success in music world. Influenced by such Brazilian greats as the late Elis Regina, she also began listening to such North American artists as Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRea and George Benson. And her choice of music to interpret came not from the bossa nova of the 1960s but from the talents of the generation of composers that followed and put the Brazilian sound on the world map once again.

Arriving in the U.S. in 1980, Kenia quickly established herself as the new Brazilian singer on the scene and recorded her debut in the States with trumpeter Claudio Roditi on his album Red on Red. Several years later, she launched her solo recording career, producing four popular and critically-acclaimed albums for the MCA and Denon labels between 1987 and 1991. She also established herself as one of the most popular and successful U.S. based Brazilian musicians since the heyday of Sergio Mendes and Brazil ‘66. In 1997, Kenia launched her own label, Mooka Records, with a particularly ambitious effort; Project Ivan Lins, a tribute to the one of Brazil’s most prolific and popular contemporary songwriters, featuring Lins himself as a special guest.

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Yvonne Campos 
Founder and President, Next Act Fund LLC 

Yvonne Campos is a nationally recognized businesswoman, speaker, focus group facilitator and consultant. Yvonne founded Next Act Fund in 2016 to help women grow their personal wealth by investing in early-stage, women owned/led companies, thereby positively impacting women, the region and the nation.

Yvonne’s career includes founding and growing Pittsburgh’s premier research company, Campos Inc. Never one to sit still, Yvonne then noticed an opportunity to support other women entrepreneurs and investors with Next Act Fund. Under Yvonne’s leadership, Next Act Fund has rapidly grown its board and membership with leaders from Pittsburgh’s business and investing community, all of them visionary women and men. Yvonne also founded two Pittsburgh chapters of the Women President’s Organization, a peer-to- peer learning model for women owned business with revenues over one million dollars.

Yvonne is a very active member of the Pittsburgh business community and has been recognized locally, regionally and nationally for her entrepreneurship and community involvement. Her community involvement spans professional organizations like American Marketing Association (AMA), Executive Women’s Council (EWC), International Women’s Forum (IWF), Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA), and many non-profit board positions and committees. She is a CEO Diamond Award recipient, presented by the Pittsburgh Business Times in recognition of her business leadership and civic engagement.

She currently serves on the board of Quantum Theatre, Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, Highmark Health, Chatham University - Center for Women's Entrepreneurship, and the Pittsburgh Dance Council. She continues on the honor boards of WQED Multimedia and Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Yvonne received her BS in Psychology at the University of Utah, and is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh’s Class XI, Tepper School of Business’s Donald H. Jones Entrepreneurship Program, Tuck Executive Education Program and Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Program.

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Carolina Frantz MSN, RN 
BSN-AID Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Duquesne University

Carolina Frantz, MSN, RN is the BSN-AID Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Duquesne University School of Nursing. She has held positions at the Heritage Valley School of Nursing, teaching leadership and critical care courses. She worked in various nursing and leadership roles at UPMC for 14 years. Roles within the system included bedside Nursing ICU roles as well as positions within the home health division, and was awarded a Cameo of Caring award in 2016.

She served as an improvement specialist, and infection prevention chair during the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also participated in state task force initiatives to assist in infection prevention support for long term care facilities within the Pittsburgh region. She obtained her Associates in Nursing at the Community College of Allegheny County, baccalaureate and Masters degrees at Carlow University, with a concentration in nursing leadership and education. 

She is a founding member and president of The Western Pennsylvania Area Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. She is active at the National level as a member for the communications committee of the organization. 

Part of her work and educational journey has led her to volunteering opportunities and a chance to serve the community in every way possible.

She takes part in medical missions, as well as volunteers with her home church every other month serving a Sunday meal at the Pleasant Valley Men’s Shelter.

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Wilfredo (Fred) Ramos   
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Highmark Health

Fred Ramos is a senior business executive, administrator and strategic counselor to senior management with Global Communications, Public Relations, Marketing, Stakeholder Engagement, Strategic Planning, and Operations Management expertise and Thought Leadership. Fred has held numerous senior leadership positions at several Fortune 100 and Most Admired companies – where he has had a successful 25+ year track record of applying his expertise and Thought Leadership to help drive and support strategic, operational and Brand Image and Reputation Management business goals and objectives.

As Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Fred serves as the Chief Communications Officer for the Highmark Health enterprise. In this enterprise senior leadership role, Fred has overall responsibility and accountability for leading a multidisciplinary Corporate Communications team focused on building a strong company reputation and integrated communications strategy across Highmark’s health, diversified and provider businesses, and for leading, designing and executing integrated Communications and Public Relations strategies to position the company as a leading health and wellness organization with key government, internal and external stakeholders.

Prior to this, at Zurich Insurance Co. Ltd, Fred served as Global Head of the Employee Communications CoE, a core unit of the global Employee & Executive Communications team above the BU level, a Group level, senior leadership and Executive Staff role within the merged Group Marketing & Communications function. Responsible for leading and managing a team of employee communications business partners located across the globe, Fred helped to ensure the direction and coordination of employee communications activities across the Group, and the development, delivery and measurement of the Group employee communication strategy to drive employee engagement and commitment and to enable and support the execution of Zurich’s business strategy and brand repositioning.

Before that, Fred was the Global Chief of Staff and Head of Strategy, Group Communications, where he served at a Group level, senior leadership and Executive Staff role as the Global Function’s COO and Chief Administrative Officer and directed its day-to-day administrative/operational processes, oversaw budget and agency management, and helped to set its strategic direction. This included driving the development and execution of the function’s multi-faceted, Strategic Framework and Operating Model focused on Group Communications delivering a simpler, more efficient and more effective value proposition to the business at the Group, Segment and Regional/Country level.

Fred joined Zurich in 2011, serving as Vice President/Head, Corporate Communications, and Chief Communications Officer, Zurich North America - General Insurance (GI). In this regional senior leadership role, he led the ZNA-GI communications function and team; multiple, integrated communications channels; and key message platform development – directing and governing Internal/Employee Communications, Public/Media Relations, Crisis Communications, and Executive Communications, and helping to drive enterprise Employee Engagement and Change Management efforts.

In addition, Fred has served as:

  • Senior Vice President of Communications, Public Relations, Community and Government Relations at Advocate Healthcare, in Chicago, IL;
  • Global Head of Internal and Executive Communications at Merck & Co., Inc., in Whitehouse Station, NJ;
  • Corporate Marketing and Communications Officer at Nationwide Insurance and Financial Services, in Columbus, OH;
  • Global Head of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at Phillips Petroleum Company, in Bartlesville, OK; and
  • Senior Director of Corporate, Internal and Executive Communications, and Executive Director of The Allstate Foundation, among numerous Public Relations and Communications leadership roles held during a 16-year career, at Allstate Insurance Company, in Northbrook, IL, where he directed companywide communications measurement and best practices initiatives –cutting-edge work for which Allstate and Fred became well recognized.

Fred holds a B.A. in Communications and an M.B.A., from Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, IL.

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Brent Rondon 
Senior Consultant for International Trade, University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Small Business Development Center, Innovation Institute

Brent G. Rondon is currently the Senior Consultant for International Trade for the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Small Business Development Center and Innovation Institute. He consults on export-import and start-up topics as well as assists international entrepreneurs to open a business in Pittsburgh. He has managed a 5-year project to bring U.S. manufacturers of infrastructure-related equipment into the Pacific Alliance markets of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile delivering sales up to $30 million. One of his clients has just won the 2019 Export of the Year Award making it the 7th company who wins such an award under his portfolio. Previously, he has led trade missions to Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Germany.

He received a Master’s Degree of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and a Graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Engineering from the La Molina University in Peru. He is a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) from NASBITE International. He is in the board of Global Pittsburgh, Welcoming Pittsburgh’s initiative from the Mayor of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Sister Cities International and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Diverse Communities Group. He is fluent in Spanish and intermediate Portuguese.

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Michael Soto, PHD 
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Point Park University

Michael Soto serves as Point Park University's Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. As the chief academic officer of the University, he oversees all academic programs; faculty; academic support staff; departments of student affairs, registrar, and institutional research and planning; and the library.

A native of South Texas, Soto holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University and a B.A. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University.

Prior to his current role, Soto was Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of English at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He is the author of six books and many articles on twentieth-century U.S. literature and cultural history.

Selected Books:

  • The Modernist Nation: Generation, Renaissance, and Twentieth-Century American Literature (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004)
  • Editor, Teaching the Harlem Renaissance: Course Design and Classroom Strategies (New York: Peter Lang, 2008)
  • Measuring the Harlem Renaissance: The U.S. Census, African American Identity, and Literary Form (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2016)
  • Editor, A Companion to American Literature: 1914 to the Present (West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 2020)

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